New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals: What to Expect

By matthewyaspan
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets are coming off of an odd stretch of games consisting of both dramatic wins and embarrassing losses. Entering the series against the Miami Marlins, the team was riding a winning streak and high hopes. Exiting the series, the team’s prospects look just as dismal as ever.

The Washington Nationals may not be 10 games below .500, but as of late, the team has disappointed significantly. Star outfielder Bryce Harper is on the disabled list, and the team is coming off of consecutive series losses to the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles.

Both teams have offenses that have been disappointing to say the least. The Mets are 26th in the league in total offense, while the Nationals are 28th. Needless to say, barring some surprising performances, this should be a relatively dormant series as far as the bats go.

The Nationals have a bit of an edge on the offensive front because they are avoiding both Matt Harvey and Jonathon Niese. All three Mets’ starters could be out of the rotation by 2014, with only Dillon Gee likely to remain in the rotation beyond this season.

The first game features Jeremy Hefner against Jordan Zimmermann. As long as Hefner pitches like he has recently and keeps the ball in the ballpark, and the Mets avoid putting in any relievers that have no MLB experience, the game should be tight. The Mets have seen Zimmermann many times before, and should know what to expect: hard fastballs inside with a solid array of secondaries. If the Mets can guess correctly on the fastball, they should be able to keep up.

The second game has Dillon Gee against Dan Haren. This game has the highest potential for a slugfest. Haren has been significantly better in his past few starts, and his fastball has jumped in velocity a bit from last season. However, all of his pitches are still relatively average except for his split finger. Haren also lacks a true sinker to put away a guy like Ike Davis, who has been heating up. Gee, on the other hand, is coming off of his best career start, but a dreadful overall start to the year. If he looks at all like he did in Yankee Stadium, the Mets could run away with this one.

The series finale will consist of the Mets starting Shaun Marcum versus Stephen Strasburg. There is a clear advantage toward the Nats here, but the Mets have done pretty well against the phenom, and as long as Marcum isn’t kept in the game too long, he should prevent runs, especially against a hack-happy Nats lineup. Strasburg hasn’t been quite the same this year due to minor injury troubles, but as long as if he is at least 80 percent, there is a clear advantage toward Washington.

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